Sponsored Comments Show High Click-Through Rates

Linc Wonham
by Linc Wonham 17 Mar, 2010

Initial results show that marketers using the Sponsored Comments forum are benefiting from very high click-through rates that far exceed those of most traditional online advertising channels, reports TalkAhead, Inc., which has implemented the service for the Jerusalem Post's online editions.

TalkAhead is a new advertising channel that allows online publishers to monetize areas of their websites or blogs that were not previously earning revenue. The service offers advertisers the opportunity to post short paid messages called Sponsored Comments in the readers' comments sections, enabling them to participate in the dialogues readers are having on the site. The platform was designed to help marketers, public relations professionals and brand managers respond to stories or issues affecting their company, product or industry, offer commentary, dispel misconceptions, generate leads and start conversations with consumers.

Established in 1995 and one of the world's first and most widely read online publications, JPost.com recently debuted the Sponsored Comments platform from TalkAhead. Reported click-through rates for advertisers utilizing the service are averaging 2 percent, with some exceeding 5 percent.

"The exciting aspect for us is that it allows the Jerusalem Post to tap into a whole new pool of long-tail advertisers, and therefore revenue," said JPost.com CEO Yariv Carni. "These are new advertisers to our publication, and we're able to support them without applying any of our internal resources."

While high-click through rates are always welcome, sponsored comments might not be, for some Web users. This is one of those marketing channels that should be explored, but with caution and on a site-by-site basis. If your website's comments currently provide value by way of community, such a measure might cause a mutiny. Relevancy of sponsored comments will be paramount to not only success with this type of advertising, but also to the integrity of the website and brand hosting the comments.